Sexy Feast: Riding the Rails of Pleasure at RN74

rn74_board_600The big buzz around town is the opening of Michael Mina’s RN74 in downtown Seattle. In fact, dinner service starts tonight.

I was in last night for a sneak peek, and much of the talk was about the last bottle board. Crafted in the classic style of the departure and arrival boards at European train stations, the last bottle board tells in real time what wine is about to sell out. When a final bottle’s gone, letters and numbers on the board flip (the sound is great!) to reveal a new bottle to replace the old. RN74 takes pride in its wide collection of wines, and a visit to the wine room, with its shelves and scanning system, is fascinating.

So what does RN74’s last bottle board teach us about sex?

It’s all about avoiding distraction, including the need to rush.

I must say that I really like the last bottle board, especially on the heels of my recent return from Europe. It makes me feel like I’m right back in Brussel-Centraal in Belgium or Paris Gare du Nord in France. But at both of those stations, I barely took time to appreciate the big boards (or the stations themselves), instead glancing quickly as I rushed to or from trains.

So heed my advice: Don’t allow the last bottle board to distract you from other parts of the restaurant, like the gorgeous lighting, the beautiful bar which dominates the room, and the well-executed food. (RN74 stands for Route National 74, the major thoroughfare passing through the heart of France’s Burgundy region, so you’re traveling for French fare, like a rich beef bourguignon.)

And don’t let the board make you rush what should be a natural process.

Just as you should take the time you need to maximize your pleasure in picking a good wine, you should also allow time to maximize your sexual pleasure. Don’t keep an eye on the clock. Carve out time.

This is tough to do, I know, given our so-called busy lives. It’s almost as if we need to take out our Daily Planners (yes, I still use one) to schedule sex. But if we can’t prioritize something as special as sex, shielding life’s distractions from it, then I’d say we’ve got our priorities wrong in our relationships.

And yet, look at studies, and you’ll see that the average length of intercourse is often cited as low as 3-7 minutes. If “foreplay” and “afterplay” boost that to an hour, maybe that’s okay. If not, let me suggest that it might be worth being less orgasm-oriented. Slow down. Focus on your partner as much as yourself. Change positions. Go another round.

Sex shouldn’t be like catching a train. Instead, it should be like casually boarding a train to enjoy riding the rails: long and slow (though sometimes fast), smooth, and seductive. Like having a bottle of red and some beef bourguignon at RN74.

First published in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious on June 16, 2011.

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